Which Are Smarter, Red Squirrels or Gray Squirrels? Science Weighs In
An experiment comparing cousins from across the pond may help explain a British squirrel invasion.
Gray squirrels may not look so smart when they’re frantically burying acorns they may never find again, but they appear to be smarter than the red squirrels found across the pond.
Ever since gray squirrels arrived in the U.K. from North America more than a century ago, numbers of Great Britain’s native red squirrels have begun to dwindle. Now scientists may have a clue as to why: Gray squirrels are better at problem-solving when it’s time for dinner.
The two closely related species share habitat and food sources, which makes them direct competitors. And gray squirrels’ craftiness may be helping them outcompete their smaller, reddish counterparts, researchers report in the journal Animal Behaviour.
During the past several decades, the plight of